By JIMMY LAWTON
CANTON – After months of delays and one-lane accessibility, downtown traffic for the most part is now flowing at a normal pace as construction crews finish roadwork in the business district.
State Department of Transportation Spokesman Michael Flick said with the recent completion of paving and striping, drivers will notice changes in the lane configuration, which may cause some confusion to travelers familiar with the area.
A dedicated turning lane has been added near on Main Street between Riverside Drive and Court Street.
A new right turn only lane has also been added near Miner Street, meaning drivers will need to stay out of the roadside lane when traveling toward Potsdam on Main Street. Some crosswalks have also been relocated.
Flick advised drivers to be aware of the new markings as they drive through downtown.
With the roadwork out of the way, Flick said workers are moving off the roadway, especially sidewalk construction.
"What's left to do this year is wrap up some odds and ends and some work on the sidewalks," he said. “We anticipate finishing that work before winter unless we get weathered out,” he said.
Flick said the sidewalk work requires less presence from Department of Transportation contractors, which is good news for motorists.
"There will be fewer construction vehicles, so we won't be taking up as much of the roadway," he said.
Flick said the detour along Riverside Drive, State Street, and Route 310 will remain in place for vehicles that want to use it, but he expects traffic flow a bit smoother in what has been a congested business district since work began in May.
The traffic problems have drawn some complaints from local businesses and commuters, but Flick said most residents have been accepting of the delays.
"People in the village have been very understanding for the most part, we really want to thank them for their patience," he said.
Flick said loose ends will be tied up throughout November if the weather holds, and other than some plantings scheduled for spring, construction in business district should be completed by December.
"Typically for the end of the season they will work through the first week of December," he said. "But, that is really dependent on the weather."
Next spring, work will resume in Canton, but not in the same location. Flick said crews will continue the Route 11 project near the Court Street intersection by the Canton American movie theatre.
The $9.6 million job involves replacing old water and sewer lines. New sidewalks, curbs and drainage systems will also be installed.
Construction on the two-year project will end in fall of 2013.